Sunday, September 26, 2010

59th Post Monday Sept 20 - Sunday Sept 26, 2010

Another Monday already. I had some Elders help load up the truck and trailer this morning so I would be ready to go tomorrow morning. We are opening another new apartment and I need furniture to put in it. Spent the rest of the day working on photos for the incoming missionaries (Dec, Jan, and Feb), updating apartment data, repaired a vacuum for the sisters, and cleaned up the garage. All the senior missionaries were invited to the mission home for dinner this evening. We were all there, 6 couples and 3 senior sisters. The Stringfellows and us are in the office, as is Sister Betty Jo Young, the Nagels are CES missionaries at Sam Houston State College in Huntsville, the Christensens are member support missionaries also in Huntsville, the Thomas' are employment down town (took our place), and Sisters Billingsley and Peggy Jo Young are in the employment office next to the mission office, and the Peacocks who are the Bishop Storehouse managers. We had a wonderful time visiting together. What a blessing to be associated with such good people. President and Sister Hansen are an inspiration to all of us.

Tuesday I left early to get the Zone Leaders moved into their new apartment. They had been living with the ASL missionaries in a 2 bedroom apartment. We have 3 new ASL missionaries arriving tomorrow so President Hansen decided to get a one bedroom apartment in the same complex for the ZL's. The move went well as there were 8 or so missionaries to move the stuff, even though their new apartment is on the third floor. When I got back to the office Elder Stringfellow wanted me to drive him down to retrieve a car that had been towed. This one cost the Elders about $190. Towing in Houston is a real racket.

Wednesday I went out inspecting apartments. I was back to the office in time to greet the new ASL missionaries. Two of them are hearing and the other has an inplant that allows him to hear a little bit. We have an ASL missionary, Elder Jex, in our mission. He is totally deaf and will now be a trainer for one of the new ASL missionaries. He and his companion, who can hear, were at the office to greet the new missionaries. I could see the excitement in his eyes of having now THREE new missionaries that he can talked (sign) to. Each one of us in the office have a brief orientation for the missionaries on what we do and how we can help them.
This evening the Stringfellows and and us were invited to Brother and Sister Johnson's for dinner. He is also a Shell retiree and has been to the Delaware City Refinery a few times. They are wonderful people, too bad they will be moving to Utah soon. Sister Johnson is from Louisiana and loves southern cooking. She fixed gumbo that was some of the best I have ever had - it was very good. Leona was a bit nervous when she said that she was not announcing the menu until it was served. After sitting at the table and the blessing given she said that she had made "true gumbo - a labor of love" just for us. Well, Leona thought it would be filled with fish parts of all kinds and she was truely releaved to discover it was instead lots of chicken and a little sausage! She throughly enjoyed it and Sister Johnson shared her recipe with her.
We cooked chicken today for chicken pasta salad for a sister's training meeting lunch tomorrow. Our assignment was to cook and cut up the chicken and clean and slice the grapes. Leona and Melissa Vincent have always wanted a "calling" to fix lunch for the general authorities between conference sessions. We are getting practice and more "job qualifications" for that assignment!

Thursday I went out apartment inspecting again. The last place I went is a place that I always have to call the office to get in the gate. After inspecting the apartment I debated with myself if I should stop by the office and see if I could get a pass card or not. On the way out the gate I thought STOP and get a card. So I did. The manager was in the back and her assistant was helping someone else. When I explained what I needed she said as long as your name is on the lease you can have a card. I said I signed the lease, which she verified and so all was great. As I turned to leave she said, by the way do you have a copy of the Book of Mormon I could have? My 12 year old daughter has a friend who is a Mormon and she would like a Book of Mormon. I told her I did not have one on me but would see that she got one. I got back into the truck and drove back through the gate to the missionary apartment (thinking I hope they have an English copy, they are Spanish speaking missionaries - they did). The apartment manager thanked me for getting the copy for her. It was a real blessing for me! A neat experience.

We had Elders Thomson, and Anderson (the AP's) over for dinner this evening. They are such fine young men and wonderful missionaries. Pres. Hansen called this evening and said that one of the sisters apartment had been "broken into" and a CD player was missing and their stuff had been gone through. There was no sign of forced entry, so the Sisters were really worried. We had them stay with other sister missionaries fairly close by. After we talked we decided to look for a new apartment for them, which will take some time in that area.

Friday we went into the office for a while before heading down to MD Anderson and another BCG treatment. The treatment went well. I spent the rest of the day at home.

Saturday was a stay close to the facilities day for me. I did not feel like doing too much. This evening Leona went to the sister's apt and watched the RS Broadcast. Afterwards I walked over to get her and then Leona and I watched the movie about Joseph and Emma on BYU TV on our computer. She was truely an elect lady. She had such great faith and endured many trials and hardships. They are examples to each of us. Someday I hope to shake their hands and to say thank you.

Sunday we got up and went for a short walk around the lake. There was a little breeze and it was almost cool. We took a loaf of bread to feed the ducks, swan, turtles, and fish. It is fun to watch the animals, they seem so hungry. Fast and testimony meeting was good. The Bishopric always reminds us to be short and what a testimony is. The results are many more people are able to participate and the testimonies are centered on Christ.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

58th Post Monday Sept 13 - Sunday Sept 19, 2010

Monday, the beginning of another week, and missionaries were in an out of the mission office most of the day. We are right next to the Stake Center so they play basketball and soccer there and then come to the office to check on mail. Some stay and visit with one another so it gets busy and noisy at times. I took Leona and Sister Stringfellow down to Sam's Club to get them purchasing cards also. This way neither myself or Elder Stringfellow have to go with them when we need stuff for the mission. This evening we cooked 15 pounds of hamburger for the leadership lunch tomorrow. The Stringfellows and senior sisters came for family home evening. Elder Walker taught the lesson and Sister Walker was in charge of refreshments - ice cream and cookies. It is great to be a missionary!

Tuesday I started the next round of apartment inspections. The apartments look good for the most part. I did find in one apartment that elders were still in bed at 10:30 AM. There is a foursome in that apartment and one of the missionaries is the district leader but he is at the leadership training meeting. His new companion was up and dressed and reading when I knocked on the door. So as I looked around I went to the other bedroom and opened the door and the other two missionaries were just falling out of bed, I think I surprised them a bit. When I checked their bathroom they had lined the tub with plastic garbage bags and it was full of cans of soda. I asked if I was late for the party but they explained that they bought more soda than the fridge would hold so they thought they would "ice it down" in the tub! With apartment inspections you are never sure what you might find.
The office sisters served taco salad for the leadership training meeting today. They fed about 55 missionaries today and will do the same for the next two days.
Tuesday evening is the senior sisters sewing night so Leona went over to their apartment.

Wednesday morning we went early to the store to get more lunch supplies for today's leadership lunch. Today they served sub sandwiches and Sister Young made apple and peach pie in large cookie sheets. It was a real hit. I drove to Huntsville, Conroe, Montgomery and the Woodlands inspecting apartments. Huntsville is about one hour north of us. From Huntsville I took the back roads down to Montgomery, through the Sam Houston National Forest. It was a very beautiful drive and not much traffic at all. They were cleaning the office carpets this afternoon so we could not go back into the office. I went on down to the mattress store to purchase a couple of mattress and then to the second hand store to pick up a couple of desks, all for the new apartment we are opening next week.

Thursday we got up early to run, and it was actually nice out with low humidity. It is still in the 90's everyday however. I drove up to College Station (home of Texas A&M), Brenham and Waller inspecting apartments. We stayed late this evening to work in the office. One of the missionaries, who had been attending the leadership meetings, needed a ride up to the temple to catch a ride back to his area (Huntsville), so I took him up to catch his ride. Lunch today was a baked potato bar with all the trimmings and ice cream. Another busy day with lots to do, but we are grateful we can do what we are doing - what a blessing!

Friday morning Leona went into the office very early to work for a while and then came back to go with me down to MD Andersons' for another round of BCG treatments. They have me come in for blood, etc at 9 AM and then wait until 11:30 to start the treatments. The cystoscopy (6 o'clock news camera) is always fun. An intern started so he had a good old time showing me all around my bladder, "here is the inlet from one kidney and the inlet from the other one and here is the outlet - that is easy to spot because it has the TV camera cable coming through it, and the site of the tumor, etc". After killing time with the bladder tour my Dr came in and he has his tour through my bladder. He told me all my blood work came back normal, and my bladder looks just fine. I do have a slightly enlarged prostate (but what man over 50 does not), which they showed me protruding/pushing into my bladder during to tour. After the tour they put another gown (why is it called a gown? there is nothing elegant about them) on me, walled me down the hall to the room where I get the BCG treatment. We left the hospital about 2:30 pm. I did not feel very good the rest of the day and night.

Saturday we just stayed at home. I did not feel like doing much . We did go feed the ducks at the pond just before dark, but other than that pretty much laid low all day.
Today we enjoyed our church meetings. Steven is feeling better, he needs to drink lots of water all the time and sometimes forgets or doesn't feel like doing so but if he doesn't he pays for it later! The Stringfellows invited us over for dinner this evening and we had a nice visit with them. It is amazing to me how in just a short time of knowing the senior missionaries how close we become - makes me feel that we must of known each other in the pre-existance.
All is well in Texas and we pray all is well with each of you. Thank you for your prayers, you are in our prayers too. We love you and hope you have a wonderful week.
Living our dream,
Mom and Dad

Sunday, September 12, 2010

57th Post Mon Sept. 6 - Sunday Sept 12, 2010

I drove up to the temple early Monday to pick up some carpet remnants for the missionary apartments. The temple engineer did not want me to take any of the carpet just removed or any of the new carpet, but he had a large roll of carpet in the storage building that I could cut pieces from. It worked out real well except I managed to lock the keys in the van with the motor running! Not sure how that is even possible with new vehicles, but I did it. Thank goodness the mission office is only a few minutes away. Elder Stringfellow brought a spare set of keys to bail me out. Back at the office, we had two elders come in who could not find their car this morning! I told them to go back to their apartment (the other companionship in the same apartment complex also has a car) and to look for signs posted about towing cars and the towing company's phone number. Sure enough the elder had doubled parked (over the white line) and got towed sometime during the night. Elder Stringfellow drove out to the impound yard and retrieved their car (it cost the elder $208!). This after noon Leona and I drove down to the Dunning's apartment (Houston South Mission) for a Labor Day BBQ. Sisters Oborn and Gibbs are going home soon so we wanted to see them before they left. They lived in the apartment complex with us when we lived down town. It was fun to visit with them and the other Seniors from that mission.

Tuesday was a busy transfer day. We got to the office at 7 AM as I had to drive 3 missionaries north to Conroe and then bring back 3 missionaries to the office. Got back in time to take the van and trailer to Bear Creek with other missionaries involved in transfers. It rained hard most of the day so it was fun loading and unloading the missionaries, their bikes, and luggage. Elder Hiatt left for the College Station area this morning. We will miss him and Elder Martin. Elder Anderson is the new AP, a great young man. The departing missionaries had a testimony meeting at the Hafer building and then a dinner. The Stringfellows help us with the dinner feeding about 30 people. After we cleaned up we went back to the office to work. It was late by the time we got home.

Wednesday was another very busy day. President and Sister Hansen fixed breakfast for the departing missionaries at the mission home and then took them to the airport. Usually the AP's help with transporting missionaries but everything "fit" in the van. Anyway the AP's needed to run some errands so they went with me to deliver some beds, and stop by and sign a lease at one of our apartments. As we were out and about the Elders from Sealy called - their power was turned off. What a mess that apartment manager and owner have been. I spent most of the rest of the day trying in vain to get the power on. Promises from the power company and the apartment owner were not fulfilled. I offered to put the Elders (4some) up in a hotel for the night but they said no big deal they would camp out in the apartment. I also got a call from the Sisters in the Redwood Heights apartment that they got an eviction notice on their door, some unpaid bill. We called and discovered the apartment had not received this months rent check sent by SLC. The sisters were all worried they would have to pack up and leave. Sister Walker got everyone calmed down and the apartment folks got a check so all was well. 14 new missionaries arrived this afternoon. They are excited and anxious to go to work and we love them already! We went home late from the office and cooked bacon and sausage for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Thursday we got up early and were at the mission home before 7 AM cooking french toast, etc for the new missionaries and their trainers. That is a real production for us, but it went well. After breakfast, President Hansen announces the new companionships and then I take photos of each new missionary with President & Sister Hansen to send to the parents. Leona drove our car and I drove the truck to the mission home as I needed to take missionaries and their belongings to Conroe after breakfast. We stopped at the drug store to get copies of the pictures made and then off to Conroe. We stayed late again this evening (10:30 or so) doing letters for the newly called mission leaders and for the new missionaries parents, etc. Boy am I way tired, but so thankful to be able to serve.

Friday we had our staff meeting. It is always a boost to meet with President and Sister Hansen, they are such good people. We just feel better being with them. We worked on letters, photos and apartment updates all day. We had another cleaning assignment at the temple this evening. The AP's went with us again this week. Stopped the Mexican place for an early dinner and then to the temple. They had us clean the back stairs up to the ordinance rooms and also the nursery. All the carpet is installed and the furniture back in place. Just a matter of general and detailed cleaning. We enjoyed our time at the temple with the elders.

Saturday morning the Stringfellows, the Christensons and Leona and I went in the van down to the Space Center. The other two couples had not been before. We enjoyed a couple of the movies about the space station and training to be an astronaut. It was a fun day and we enjoyed visiting with the other seniors on the way down and back.

Sunday we needed to sleep in a bit (I cannot keep up with Leona and her long working hours all week), so thank goodness our ward starts at 10:30. We had a couple from Nigeria over for dinner this evening. We met Tosin (wife) at church, she is a geologist for Exxon. They got married this past May and he is waiting on "his papers" so that he can enroll in school. He is an accountant but needs to get more education in the USA in order to work here. He is not a member of the church - yet! They are both very nice and we enjoyed our visit and of course invited him to church. He has attended in the past but I think three hours is a bit long for him and they only have one car so I think that is why he hasn't attended for awhile.
It has been a very busy week. President Hansen said that this has been the biggest transfer week since he has been mission president. We love it. We love the missionaries and we cry when they leave to return home; but we are thankful that we now have 14 new ones to get to know and love!
We pray that you are well. We know our Father in Heaven is watching over you. We pray that each of our grandsons will serve a mission and it will be wonderful if our granddaughters, who desire to, will too. We truely are thankful to be here, we wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
We love ya'll so very much,
Dad and Mom

Sunday, September 5, 2010

56th Post Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept. 5, 2010

Monday morning we went into the office earlier than normal to load up some furniture to take to Huntsville. Elder and Sister Christensen will arrive sometime tomorrow so I thought it would be good to have a bed, table, chairs, sofa, and kitchen stuff in their apartment before they arrive. The Huntsville Elders, who live just a couple of apartments away unloaded the furniture when I arrived. It did not take too long so I was back to the office by mid morning. I drove down to the Concord at Little York apartment complex to sign a new lease (we have 3 apartments with 10 missionaries there). One apartment has a bed bug problem so I had to discuss with the manager some things that I needed them to do for us - it was good to get us on the same page. I had the elders stop by the office to tell him first hand what was going on. I believe things will improve.

Tuesday, I made another fast trip up to Huntsville (about 50 minutes north of us); I left in such a hurry yesterday that I forgot the bed frame so Leona went with me to help get the bed set up before the Christensen's arrive. When we got back President Hansen was in the office interviewing missionaries. When he finished he asked if he could talk with me. The AP's had given me a heads up so I was not completely worried. Any way he asked me to take 15 minutes in Zone Leaders Council tomorrow and talk about faith. He also asked me about apartments and up coming transfers. I told him my feeling about one particular situation and that we should find a new apartment. He agreed with my suggestions and told me to proceed. Tuesday is the Senior Sisters' sewing night, so I worked on some thoughts for tomorrow.

Wednesday was Zone Leaders Council meeting. Elder Stringfellow and I both shared our thoughts on our assigned subjects. It was a real experience to be in that meeting. The Zone Leaders are real fine young men who really have the spirit of the work. President Hansen shared with us all an interesting experience. Last week Elder Kikuchi promised that baptisms would double if all the missionaries would be 100%. President Hansen felt he should make some phone calls last Thursday evening, which he did to all the Zone leaders. He asked them to think of the investigators who were not on track or who had not committed to a baptism date and to go back and visit them and to teach and commit them as Elder Kikuchi had taught us. Well, Thursday morning (before the phone call) there were 8 people who had committed to baptism that weekend, but by Sunday night the mission had 14 baptisms. President Hansen then said, do you see the miracle. Do you see the promise? We are so blessed to see the Lord's hand in this mighty work.

Thursday I went to visit with one of our apartment managers about getting an additional apartment in that same complex. She is new to this apartment and new as a manager so she had all the "rules" that MUST be followed, especially on criminal background checks. I thought here we go again. She just kept going and going, saying the same thing over and over. I explained our position and then they could decide if they wanted to proceed with an additional apartment for us. After she left, the assistant manager who was sitting there the whole time and whom we have dealt with in the past, apologized for her caring on so. He said do not worry "nothing" has changed and that we will be able to get the apartment and that the paper work would be taken care off. That is one of the fun parts of my job - dealing with apartment managers.

Friday morning was our turn for an interview with the mission president. President Hansen is always very kind. He told me how much he appreciated my teaching on Wednesday. He said Elder Walker always teaches from the scriptures and is a natural teacher (I don't know about all that - but I do enjoy being with the missionaries). In our staff meeting he asked Leona to pray. He told her after that he always feels closer to the Lord when I here Sister Walker pray.

We took Elder Haitt, Thomson, and Martin out for an early dinner this evening. The five of us were scheduled to work in the temple from 5 to 8 pm. They are re-carpeting the temple. Most of the old carpet has been removed and the crew is starting to install the new. It was a bit sad to see the temple in such a "mess", but it will be put right in a week or so. We (the three elders and us) cleaned the lockers in the men's room. They really make sure that very thing is clean! Another wonderful day to be in the Texas Houston Mission.

Saturday is a special day, a day to get ready for Sunday - which we did. Leona did some sewing and I read and checked emails this evening.

Sunday we had a very nice testimony meeting. The bishop reminded everyone what a testimony really is. Everyone was brief and to the point, so lots got to share. We had Elders Hiatt, Thomson and Martin over for dinner. This coming week is transfers and Elder Hiatt is going back out to the field, he has been an AP for about 10 months so he is excited about going back to more proselyting. Elder Martin has been in this ward for a long time also. He is being transferred to Tomball and will be the new district leader. He is a good young man, we will miss him and Elder Hiatt. We went over to the Stringfellows for FHE this evening. Always fun to be with the senior missionaries. We love so much those we serve with and are thankful to be here in Texas at this time.

We love you and are proud of all you are doing with your families.
Dad and Mom